Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monday Evening (4/28) - before the off

I'm on a flight Tuesday back to the States, so we head over to Dongguan to visit Mrs Yang and the girls. With a plan to load on some last min tea purchases.
ts1
Matt, Paolo and I sat down to an easy task of selecting a TGY .. no big deal, I buy about 80% of my TGY from Mrs. Yang. We spent 3 hrs tasting back and forth only trying 6 TGY teas .. plus some Pu-Erh. Strange, we all were very critical and relatively negative on our tasting comments. Long story short, and lesson learned. We had just finished a meal at our favorite Thai restaurant, on bar street, our taste buds were hopelessly affected by the spiced food, rendering us incapable of selecting a TGY. So thx to Mrs Yang for picking one closest to what I bought in January.
ts2 The girls are busy getting an order ready for a Korean couple that are also regular customers.
A ready selection of Pu-Erh ....
ts3 All produced in 2007, priced at 65-75 RMB. Of the 3, the 7572 had the most potential.ts4
ts5

Sunday, April 27, 2008

May Day (almost) Update May 4th.

"China Calls off Week-long May Day Holiday.

China has decided to suspend the week-long May Day holiday this year, however, people can enjoy a consecutive vacation from May 1 to 5." All in an effort to curb the chronic logistics nightmares of an other mass migration, close on the heals of New Year.

This might be the "Official Party Line" but I know a number of factories and business that will take advantage and extend the holidays a couple of extra days. Ok to be fair some will only take 5/1 .. one day holiday.

Tourist volume shrinks in shortened May Day holiday

Chinese had their fervor for holiday sightseeing cooled by a shortened vacation as tourist volume slumped nearly a quarter in the past three-day May Day holiday.

A total of 8.94 million people visited 119 monitored tourist spots around the country from May 1 to May 3, 24.45 percent down from the same period last year, the national office in charge of holiday affairs said on Saturday.0013729e4ad9098767f415 Three women of the Miao ethnic group walk under Sanyou (Three Friends) Waterfall at the Yuanbao Mountain in Rongshui, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

As for me I'm heading back to So. Cal on Tuesday morning, 8:30am to Hong Kong to LAX.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Prices falling

Saturday 4/26, checking out a few Tea shops in; Dongguan - Chang Ping - Da Lang, (Hong Kong is 2hrs to the south)
Left to right: DaoJiao-Dongguan-DaLang-ChangPing:
Pear River Delta
I'm seeing a considerable drop in Pu-Erh; Wholesale / Retail prices coupled with a VERY obvious drop in demand.
Back in March 1st. I went over to DaoJiao town (see post: Saturday - Part One, DaoJiao town) Not one, of the 200 stores have opened. DSC03560 
DSC03561 Lets hope we see "Better Quality" tea, readably available at reasonable prices.
If I have time on Sunday .. I'll pull together a larger sampling of prices to better quantify today's offerings: A variety of top name factories, 2008 Shu and Sheng cakes for 30-40 RMB ...1ons

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lessons from History ????

Random synapses firings -. Subconscious generations seeping to the conscious, I truly don’t know. This morning I awoke to thoughts from history lessons bouncing between my temporal lobes. (need to cut down on the late night tea ) or it may have been the cell phone ringing in the wee hours of the morn ....

Harold Macmillan, (unfortunately not one of Brittan’s finest) delivered two speeches in early 1960, with thoughts that enriched my lexicon.

"The wind of change is blowing through this [African] continent, and whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact. We must all accept it as a fact, and our national policies must take account of it."

How this connected to the images of: Hastings, Cressy and Agincourt, will hopefully be revealed in the fullness of time.

Hastings 1066: 300px-Harold_dead_bayeux_tapestry

Cressy 1346: 300px-Battle_of_crecy_froissart

Agincourt 1415: 300px-Agincour2

“The wind of change is blowing, recognize the fact, capture the wind and trim sail accordingly." " Le vent du changement souffle....

Tea Shop (2)

Pu-Erh for Five:
video
Sorting out the stems:
video

Life in a Tea Shop (1)

Loading a Truck.
video

Monday, April 21, 2008

Six degrees of Separation: Me and Yunnan Tea

Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person he or she knows and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people he or she knows, then everyone is an average of six "steps" away from each person on Earth.

Recognition to the late, Hungarian mathematician; Paul Erdős.

250px-Six_degrees_of_separation 300px-Erdosnumber

Starting with my Colleague: Mr. One

His Friend: Mr. Two

His business partner: Mr. Three

His Girlfriend: Miss Four

Her Friend: Miss Five (now Mr. two’s girlfriend)

Her Friend: Miss Six .. from Yunnan.

Conversation synopsis: Mr. One, Matt “My friend John likes Pu-erh tea.” Miss Four, Afai, “Pierre’s girlfriend, MeMe’s friend (Mr. two, Miss Five and Six), is from Yunnan. I’ll see if she can bring some tea next time she visits.” Mr. Two, Mario was having a beer. (FYI Pierre and Mario are Germans, go figure) If you need high end leather furniture, these are the guys to contact.

The first gift was the: Da Ya, a Gold Medal Tea, from the: Ming Hai factory. Golden Needle White Lily, 2007 tea. (4/13/08 entry One-Off Pu-Erh)

Now the second present from; ”My” Yunnan direct / indirect source. (It’s all about networking.) What a wonderful surprise, DSC03667 

Two large 1,000gm blocks of: April 2007 Cooked Pu-Erh From: Shu Ang Jiang Hong Jun Cha Chang Rong Yu Chu Pin:

Twin River Red Army Tea Factory Honorable reputation Produced Product.

双 江红军茶 厂 荣誉 出品 .DSC03669DSC03670  

Plus a 180gm cake of: 2007 Yunnan Pu Tea culture Development Corp Ltd. Cooked tea.DSC03668DSC03671

A stones throw from Hunan

Monday morning and we snake our way along the ever lengthening tentacles of the; China Industrial Expansion. Hunan and Hubei provinces are seeing industrial expansion migrating from (expensive) Guangdong. In 2010 there will be a High speed train from Central Hubei to Guangzhou. Needless to say there is a lot of Lorry (truck) traffic on the roads:
sgts
A 4 hour drive, mostly in rain through very low hanging clouds, we arrive in Shao Guan Town, (still in Guangdong), but if you stand on your tip-toes you can see Hunan.
Map image
On the way back, dry weather with some sun peeking through. Once you get past Guangzhou, heading NE, you pass through farmlands framed by picturesque mountains.
sgcs sgff

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ocean - Wind - Rain, Driving in a river

Saturday, it was all about the torrential downpours .. Typhoon Neoguri hit us late Saturday afternoon. Matt and I were visiting Robert, in Huang Jian Town. At 6:00 pm we all drove over to Chang Ping, to meet up with friends for dinner.

In less than 20min we were driving in fast flowing, shallow river(s). (aka the road) Fortunately our progress was only slowed, not halted. Rain and flooded streets, added a level of excitement to the day. The liberal application of Black Label, ensured the "spirits" were not dampened.

Tuff way to go: (Thankfully Robert has an SUV)2oab

Sunday: No rain, a bit overcast, clean air, a nice byproduct of the strong winds and heavy rains. A good day for Pu-Erh and TGY.

Tonight its dinner at the Copper Grill:PIC-0265

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Birthday: 生日快樂, Sheng ri kuai le

Time to catch on a few family items:
Long Feng Tai 龍 鳳 胎 Dragon and Phoenix Twins. Now 24, Andrew and Heather share their birthday on Friday 4/18
Heather in Fiji with some of the local kids.
hf
Andrew models a Tea shirt:abp
Ben celebrates birthday number 2 ....b2
Robin (Ben's dad) celabrates making it this far ... Yes that's a cup of tea, the beers for Ben and his pals ...b2rb
Robbie picked up a Volvo a couple of weeks ago ... nv
A couple of weeks back, the truck rear door "blew out" .. stress from new lift shocks. $625.00 later we have a new rear door !!
twbo

Friday, April 18, 2008

Info for Annette

“Hi, We have just returned from Thailand where we experienced the tea ceremony but did not buy the cups etc for fear of breakage. Now that we are back home we cannot find a supplier. Could you let us know where you got yours from please. We love the 2 cups on a tray (1 being the sniffing cup) and the only place I have seen these since is on your website. Thank you in advance for your help.”
Regards,
annette

Being at the source of tea and related items, I tend to forget that we don't all have the same ready access.

Annette .. thank you for your e-mail .. FYI there are sources on the Internet. Just a few that I know of:
http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php?main_page=index
Check under Teaware-Cups
http://funalliance.com/tea/yixing.htm
http://www.holymtn.com/teapots/tea.htm

This could be a promising site for tea: http://www.skip4tea.com/

Hope this sets you on the right path ... if not just drop a note and I'll see what I can do. I'll be in China for an other couple of weeks.
best regards
john

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Taipei - Ying Ge - San Yi (Updated with Pictures etc)

Arrived Taipei Wed. afternoon .. no travel problems. NOTE there was an additional security check leaving Shenzhen before entering the immigration / customs area. Only for dual registration vehicles.

Taipei at this time of the year reminds me of Paris .. it just does, filtered sunlight, tree lined streets .. busy sky's .. a general lightness is the air, feels good.

Wed. evening, unfortunately Dawn (Tim's girlfriend) was studying for a French language examination, so just Tim and I for dinner at the Miramar Garden, great meal, a special thank you to: chefs Andy Chiang and John Hu.

Taipei 101 at the: Lower Right Pushpin .. Miramar; upper left.

Map image

Thursday, most of the morning at the factory .. afternoon: a stop at YingGe .. then off to San Yi

Ying Ge ..The Parrot, hard to miss this place..DSC03640This simple, unassuming tea service is EXTREAMLY well made and esthetically pleasing.DSC03641 Taipei City in the north, San Yi, south east pushpin, approx 2 hr drive

Map image

The weather was just perfect with mix of clouds, strong sun, refreshing breezes and NO rain...(unlike Paris) SanYi; the epi-center of Taiwan wood carving. DSC03643 This table is over 15 feet long and is SOLID (hard to tell with the surrounding statues)DSC03645 The sheer size of some the tables must be seen to be appreciated.DSC03646 Yu Hwa Ceramics studio. What a great find .. hand crafted ceramics by the owner / artistDSC03647 . Mrs. Yeh, wraps a present (for Patrick)DSC03648  Four of her friends are visiting today, from Kaohsiung. DSC03650 Using products made by herself, Mrs Yeh serves tea. (for 7)A nice close to a fun visit. .. Xie Xie NiDSC03651 cupcard

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Too much Ado about water

We encounter a plethora of articles that relate to the betterment of our tea consumption via the quality of the water.

Some times its best to just cut to the chase:

pic24084

Call it a Dutch treat ...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Taipei in my sights

All being well, I will be in Taipei Wed. afternoon, spend a couple of days and back to Hong Kong/ China on Friday.

A short trip takes most of the day: Dongguan to HK 2 hr drive, 2 hrs at HKIA (international flight) 1:45min flight .. 1:30 drive to Taipei.

Map image

tea-areas

Matt is back on the Brisbane to Hong Kong bus, due to arrive in Dongguan late Friday evening. The next couple of weeks look to be Very Very busy.

Map image

Sunday, April 13, 2008

B 4 T -- A Deck

As part of on going home projects .. It was time to finish up the deck I started 6 months ago .. sounds bad, but, about 4 1/2 of those months I spent in China. So last weekend #2 son Trevor came over and we knocked it out by Sunday noon.
The basic foundation is finished ... 365.76 centimeters, square. That's 12 feet in old money.
ndfoundover Trevor drives a few supports as we lay the decking..
ndfound
Trim off the ends .. and I'm spent.
ndcut
Some ground cover around the perimeter, and we are ready for Tea
ndgcover
Now comes some finish work and screens ..but that will have to wait as I'm back in DG China. But a little bird (Robin) let me know a contractor showed up when I left and a new driveway and front entry is under way ... YES !!!!!